Letters to the Editor – January/February 2014

Scripture is our authority

I certainly agree that what Bishop Talbert has done is an abomination. I also agree with Rob Renfroe that disciplinary action must be taken (“Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett Deserves Better. And So Do We.”). However, I am disappointed the neither Mr. Renfroe nor the Council of Bishops included Scripture in their statements. The Book of Discipline is to be respected, however, Scripture is our ultimate authority and we seem to be ignoring it. This is dangerous and disappointing.

Charles Kent 

via goodnewsmag.org 

 

Closing the doors

Thank you Rob Renfroe for having the Holy Spirit filled conviction to speak truth (“Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett Deserves Better.). I sent a letter to the Council of Bishops following the General Conference voicing my concern about the direction our church is taking and the lack of leadership displayed by the Council. I did not receive a response. I followed that with a letter to our Bishop. I did receive a response, but no action or plan of action.

If we as a church will not teach and preach the word of God as revealed to us in the Holy Bible, then it is time to close the doors of our churches. It is far better to have them closed than to present to a lost word false teaching, preaching, and example.

We need to be in earnest prayer for God’s guidance.

Nelson “Bill” Temple

via goodnewsmag.org 

 

Holding funds

Well said, Rob Renfroe (“Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett Deserves Better.). Most in the church are growing weary of this kind of rebellion in the name of Christ and the UM Church. If Talbert is not held accountable, the covenant is devoid of meaning. I wonder if it isn’t time for evangelical UM churches to place 100 percent of the apportionment money into escrow and hold it there until such time that the bishop is held accountable for this egregious action.

Wesley Putnam 

via goodnewsmag.org 

 

Citizens of the Kingdom

I am a retired minister in The United Methodist Church. Thank you for the opportunity to express my opinion. While I respect the people in the Good News movement, I strongly support Bishop Mel Talbert in his recent officiating at a same sex marriage ceremony in Alabama. I say this for two reasons.

The first is that the church has always been lifted to greater heights by the reformers who followed their conscience and went beyond the established norms of their church at the moment. Jesus set the example by violating several of the established rules in his time. He performed work on the Sabbath. In his Sermon on the Mount, he refuted or revised several of the statutes found in Leviticus, such as the “eye for an eye” standard stated by Leviticus. In fact, in his sermon, he changed the old law six times.

Paul also said that Gentiles should be accepted as Gentiles and did not have to be circumcised or be bound by the old food laws. Early on, he said that all are accepted by God: Jew or Greek; male or female, bond or free. All come into the Kingdom by their faith. Martin Luther, a Catholic priest, deeply challenged the establishment in his time. John Wesley started a whole new movement in his day. While he had great differences with the established church, he died as an ordained minister in the Church of England.

The second reason I approve of Bishop Talbert’s action is my understanding of the Bible. For Christians, underlying our differences on many issues today is the way we interpret the Bible. The Good News movement has often been critical of the way many of us treat the Bible. Some have said that many in the Church today have simply thrown away the Scriptures. I plead “Not guilty.” I have been a student of the Bible all my life. I read the Bible. I study the Bible. It is a great book and is the background book for the Christian faith.

But the Bible is not infallible. It was written by men inspired by their understanding of God, but these writers did not always agree. The Bible is a product of the Church. The books in the Bible were selected by the early Church from a number of other books circulating at the time. The Old Testament was not even written by Christian writers. We simply took over the Jewish Scriptures and made them a part of the Christian Bible. The early church was not perfect, so it is understandable that the Bible is not perfect either.

What the early Jews and later Christian writers said about homosexuality is not necessarily an edict of God. The Christian slave owners in the South proved scripturally that slavery was compatible with the Christian faith. Nehemiah gave the segregationists a leg to stand on and they ran with it. Some churches still do not ordain women because, on one occasion, Paul said that women should not speak out in public. There are some Christians who still believe that. But most of us have moved to higher ground. Just as we now condemn slavery and segregation, we are moving today to understand that gays are born that way, just as straights are born that way. And both gays and straights are welcome in the Kingdom of God.

With that said, my prediction is that we will one day celebrate the leadership of people like Bishop Talbert who call us, in the name of Christ, to continually move on to higher ground. One final word: I sincerely hope the Good News movement and the rest of us in The United Methodist Church will continue to do our best to be good citizens of “The Kingdom of God.”

Inman Moore

via goodnewsmag.org 

 

Progressives within the UM Church

As a WWII U.S. Navy veteran, we had rules and regulations to follow without question. Violation of said rules could lead to discipline resulting in some cases dishonorable discharge. Voluntary disobedience led to punishment. It was our choice.

My wife and I have discussed this issue of certain provocative acts of disobedience to the Book of Discipline by certain “former” church leaders. I say “former” because that is what they should be – stripped of all membership benefits. By their actions, they have chosen to leave the church. They have chosen to disobey so they suffer the consequences even without trial. They are out! Their action of “ecclesiastical disobedience” is self-evident. Therefore, being as they have chosen to disobey, they have elected to leave the UM Church. It bothers me somewhat that some church “leaders” don’t have enough fortitude to call the self-evident shots and execute discipline as needed. With my Navy discipline standards and good common sense, I have lost interest in the UM Church hierarchy and that is why I left the church about six years ago.

Becoming a UM through merger with the Evangelical United Brethren, I questioned the UM structure of operation from the first. At the merger beginning, we kept our EUB pastor but as the new UM pastors were assigned, things seemed to deteriorate. I was an adult classroom teacher and served on about every church committee so I could make good observations. Yes, I was much involved in the church.

As a public school classroom teacher, high school principal and then district-wide administrator, I knew the importance of following the rules … and so did my students. Obey or suffer the consequences. It appears some current bishops should be terminated for not enforcing the rules.

My wife still supports the church financially but no longer attends. The church has left us.

Do keep up your efforts. You are appreciated. Stand firm for your Christian principles.

V.H. and Julia Boekelman

Fort Dodge, Iowa

 

Weak repudiation

The repudiation of the breach of church law by our church authorities appears to be very weak. We applaud Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett for keeping her sacred vows and caring for the future of The United Methodist Church. If same sex “marriage” is right, then Scripture has no authority in our church and becomes nothing more than a fable as already taught by some.

William R. Graham

via goodnewsmag.org

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